Utah Royals send star defender Kelley O’Hara to Washington Spirit
(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune)
Utah Royals vs. Washington Spirit, soccer at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Saturday May 5, 2018. Utah Royals FC defender Kelley O'Hara (5) scores a goal. Defending is Washington Spirit midfielder Taylor Smith (7).
Utah Royals FC started play in 2018 with three players from the U.S. Women’s National Team. Now, the club is down to none.
The Royals traded defender Kelley O’Hara to the Washington Spirit, the team announced Wednesday. For O’Hara, Utah got $75,000 in allocation money. The club will also get Washington’s first-round pick in 2022 depending on how many games O’Hara plays for the Spirit.
“As I move on to the next chapter in my NWSL career I want to thank the Utah Royals organization for providing a top class professional experience,” O’Hara said in a statement. “To the fans, I know that my time on the field in Utah did not meet a lot of people’s expectations, including my own. Please know that I gave all I had to the Royals during my three years and to those that stuck by me and the team through the good and the bad, I am forever grateful.”
O’Hara was reportedly on her way to the Spirit over the summer, but the move was never announced, indicating a potential snag in the talks. But now O’Hara will move to Washington, where she lives in the offseason.
O’Hara is the latest USWNT player to leave the Royals. Defender Becky Sauerbrunn was traded to Portland
before the 2020 started, and Christen Press signed with Manchester United
before getting picked up by Louisville
in the expansion draft last month.
The Royals protected O’Hara in the expansion draft.
O’Hara had an injury-riddled tenure with the Royals. has been injured for much of the last two seasons. She appeared in two games during the National Women’s Soccer League Challenge Cup and played only 64 minutes.
In all, O’Hara played 14 games (10 starts) with Utah and contributed 16 clearances, four blocks and 15 interceptions. She also added one goal and one assist.